Unified communications: what is it and why do I need it?

Welcome back to our simple coverage of complex issues. This time we’re going to be taking a look at unified communications (UC), who needs it, and what it has to do with Tetris and compasses.

The term “unified” itself hints at the idea that we’re bringing things together. To be more specific, we’re combining communication technologies. Telephony, video communication, web conferencing, online status identification, chat, and several other communication channels all work together in UC, making things easier for us.

UC is like the smartphone in your pocket. It’s one device and one interface with tens or even hundreds of functions. Let’s look back on what we had just a few years ago.

For calls — a cell phone. If you had a Nokia 3310, you could crack nuts with it too, but that’s beside the point.

For music — a separate player. A cassette player even!

For games — Tetris. Yes, this is going all the way back to before Nokia introduced Snake.

For recording things — paper and pencil. A daily planner for your friends’ birthdays and your to-do list coupled with a separate notebook for your workout schedule.

We chatted with our friends from our home computer using ICQ.

At the store we only ever paid using cash, so that meant carrying a wallet and coin purse around everywhere.

Heading for an out-of-town vacation? Take a paper map with you. Maybe even a compass.

Want a picture of yourself in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Well, you know…

That’s already around ten things you had to carry around with you everywhere you went. Now all you need is a smartphone that weighs all of 150 grams.

UC has a similar logic. Your average office worker uses a wide arrange of resources, both physical and virtual: a phone, a notepad, a CRM system, IP telephony, messengers and social networks to communicate with clients. Worse, one client wants to use Skype, another Telegram, and a third Viber and their personal phone number. Getting documents approved by the client’s boss means uploading them to Google Drive and then to Dropbox. It’s enough to have that average office worker running crazily around the room in frustration.

The goal of UC is to combine everything you need into one interface. The service may include:

  • IP telephony
  • HPBX with flexible rerouting to make sure that calls are never missed
  • Integration with CRM systems to keep tabs on clients
  • Support for video and web conferences
  • An instant messaging service
  • A contact list with user statuses

All that functionality should be available from any device — PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone — and at any time from anywhere in world with internet access. The key words are “fast and easy.”

When specialists need to get in touch with a client or colleague, they pick the most convenient method. They can call one person, write another on Facebook, send a Viber message to yet another person, and email their last target. If their company has UC, things are much easier: they have a single, comprehensive tool they can use for all of that. Nobody has to go jumping around from window to tab and back again, since everything is right in front of them in the single interface. Message notifications pop up there too to make sure nobody misses anything.

As far as HPBX is concerned, the UC system includes several functions.

There’s the ability to flexibly reroute calls depending on user statuses. If the system sees that a sales manager isn’t at their desk, it tries to transfer the call to their cellphone or a colleague. Clients can also leave voicemails managers see in their personal account or email. SMS notifications can also be set up to make sure the right people are in the know. And it’s all automatic.

UC also includes the ability to work from anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the office, at home, or on a business trip — just so long as you have stable internet access. This is where a softphone for your computer or mobile devices comes in handy.

One more thing is high-quality video conferences. Sure, you have Viber, Facebook Messenger, and the like, but you need something more for your business communication. You need a stable connection, the ability to include more than two participants, security, and the ability to share your desktop or presentation. All that comes with UC.

Next, you need integration with CRM systems to make getting in touch with your clients easier. You’d be surprised if you calculated how much time your managers spend dialing nine-digit numbers manually. UC does that for you, and even displays a client card complete with the latest activity and notes while it does. The system also distributes incoming calls, synchronizes calling numbers and numbers in the CRM base, and transfers clients to their personal managers.

UC has blossomed in the past few years, and the gradual migration of nearly all work to the cloud is supercharging its growth. Many companies out there are developing products that combine multiple functions, and Dzinga is no exception. We are planning to develop a product and expand its functionality as well. Our clients won’t just get IP telephony and HPBX with flexible setup; we will be providing integration with CRM systems, our own CRM, integration with chat and SMS services, video conferencing, and much more. As a service provider in the UC industry, we want to make it as simple and easy as possible for you to communicate with your colleagues and customers, be that in chat, by phone, or via video calls. We don’t have any plans to include Tetris, but we’ll add it if you need it.


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